Sunday, July 21, 2013

Review of Pandemonium by Warren Fahy

Even though the body count got a lot higher than I like, I enjoyed this thrilling adventure. Ecosystems. Scary ecosystems! Russian history. Soldiers. Bombs and monsters. Neat structures I did not want to see destroyed, but were anyway. Caves. Geography. Understandable hatred and vengeance. Nasty end of the world possibilities. There was a lot in this novel.
I loved the animal sketches in the back of the book. I loved the biology.
I did not know there was a prior book to this book which is a sequel to Fragment. Now that I know, I intend to read it also.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Review of Mask by Kerry Nietz

I normally dislike stories told in sentence fragments, but Kerry Nietz made that practice work for me in this quick, page-turner, sci-fi thriller. One can feel the constant, breathless terror of the hero who keeps reciting mantras about the good society and about himself. Somewhere past the 80% mark of the novel, the hero stops trying to hide from or side with the terror, and actively fight the terror. And when he does, he starts thinking in complete sentences. I don't know if that is a deliberate stylistic choice or not, but to me it symbolized the hero's brain working again as he stops gibbering in terror. For a while, the hero had sided with the terror, not so he could provoke terror in those around him, but so that terror would overlook him. I found that to be an extremely believable motive. The ten-year-old girl was odd. But since some of us are odd, I accepted her oddness. Her uncle went so far past odd, I had a little difficulty with his weirdness. He seemed over the top to me. Yet over the top may have been needed at that point in the novel.
The final boss monster battle was slightly less disgusting than the final battle in the Galactic Mage trilogy. Oh, and speaking of disgusting, vegetarians, be warned. There is so much close up grilling of meat in the book that it will read to you not as sci-fi or thriller, but will seem to you like horror. The grilling scenes were integral to the plot as the hero is a fry cook in the day, yet I found myself getting faintly nauseated with the many descriptions of spattering fat. I had to eat a lot of cold, crisp lettuce after finishing the book. I finally found out what the Japanese girl meant when I laid out a huge Thanksgiving turkey for a group of Japanese friends, and she said she couldn't eat because the volume of food I laid on the table filled her up. I think she meant what I felt after closing the book: overwhelmed by a sensory experience. Weekend Warrior grill chefs and fry cooks should love the many descriptions of meat.
I lived in Seattle for six years long ago, and have sons in Kirkland. I got a kick out of Kerry's mentions of Seattle. I thought transmogrifying Sea-Tac into See Tee was funny.
People who like fast-paced, dystopian, sci-fi thrillers will likely love this book.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A review of The Linen God by Jim O'Shea

I enjoyed reading this book. The characters are interesting and likable people. There is the shroud of Turin, an exorcism, a massive conspiracy, writing that is not literary but is good enough that you don't want to snap shut the book and throw it across the room as one does with, ahem, some other thriller and/or conspiracy writers. There was even some romance that did not make me gag as romance usually does.
There was a spot where I started shouting at the author in my mind where he says the clone would not look exactly like the original because he had a different mother. "Because of epigenetics!" I thought, and then thought some more. The biggest epigenetic influence is indeed the state of the womb growing the fetus, hence looking different because of a different mother. Palm to forehead *bap* and note to self: Do not use the word epigenetics in your novels. The author correctly oversimplified the science so his book could be accessible to any average reader. He goes past our present science by implying that appearance can be influenced by genetic manipulation. Um, no, but it makes for a fun plot point in a fun, fiction book.
There are also some interesting real life prophecies that need a lot of streeetching to fit real life history. Watching the stretch is fascinating.
The end of the book exemplifies the proverb that Liars lie.
If you like thrillers and conspiracy books, you will likely enjoy this book.